Sunday 11 May 2014

On the way

"On a long and dusty road"

We are all on our way to something - to get rich, to find the person of our dreams, to get recognition, to reach retirement (what is that, I wonder?), to achieve inner peace, to find happiness - forgetting more often than not the Buddha's adage: Happiness is the way, and the statement of Jesus: I am the Way. Be in the now...... 

Well, I'm never happier than when I'm on my creative road - the "Way of the Brush"(as in Shodō), even though I'm creating something that will disappear within minutes. I'm spending hours in my studio, practising for a live visual performance of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, tweaking my designs and the choreography of my brushes, adjusting the colour mixes. ("No Madam, I don't just make it up as I go along, but if it looks that way, thanks for the compliment"). It's a long road to the Stockholm festival O/Modernt and it's a long piece (about an hour). The more conservative visual art lovers are perplexed - surely an artist is supposed to reach a destination, concoct a final product to have and conserve? Yet my "product" is an ephemeral performance of kinetic painting that comes and goes, then disappears, as the music does. Nevertheless, watching an artist continuously on his way may turn out to be a priceless, unforgettable personal experience, with many surprises. "Someone trudging on and on, Many, many miles he's gone. Over hill and dale he goes, Where's he heading? No-one knows" (Stravinsky/Ramuz).

Here are a few new stills from this kinetic work for June 17th., where Alexander Oliver will play the Narrator. My brushes will play the Soldier, the Devil and the Princess.
The Soldier, marching on a long and dusty road, stops for a drink at a border inn. There he learns that whosoever can cure the king's sick daughter can marry her!

   I've done a quick scan of the Princess's illness. Yeah, she's sick all right - you can see the disease spreading.
Will the cards bring him luck? Oh no, there's the Devil again, leaning in the doorway and sneering. Gamble, and get him drunk! The Devil brush wobbles, lurches, then crashes - and the Soldier can snatch back his violin, to give the Princess a little music therapy. It works! As he begins to play - she opens her eyes - and begins to dance - the tango, waltz and ragtime. As we don't have a Princess: my brushes do the dancing - it's something they do naturally.


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